Kids Can Handle More Than You Think

One of my favorite moves of all time is UP by Pixar. Up always reminds me that kids can handle hard things. In the course of the two hours this “kids” movie addresses, death, miscarriage, and divorce. How does Pixar tackle those topics? With story. The story of UP is simple but powerful. Up is really fun and most of all it’s incredibly moving. I think as parents or leaders we tend to protect kids from difficult topics or shelter them from the hard stories of the Bible. To avoid the temptation to skip hard conversation because kids aren’t ready.

How do you handle hard truths for kids?

  1. Start by not avoiding hard truths because they are hard.
  2. Tell them the truth in a story – Jesus did this before Pixar did.
  3. Tell them with humor – Use appropriate humor to disarm and protect the kids you are speaking to.
  4. Be truthful – Don’t lie to make it easier, don’t skip parts of the Bible. The idea that certain parts of the Bible are not appropriate for kids isn’t true. The question isn’t appropriateness but rather “How can I teach this truth in an age-appropriate way.”
  5. Show kids Jesus – teach kids that when we don’t fully understand everything which we won’t because we are finite. What we do know about Jesus allows us to trust what we can never know to Jesus.
  6. Lastly, tell them – tell them of the hard stuff you have been through and how Jesus has been faithful in the middle of it all.

The New Needs Friends

How to fight the inner critic and befriend the new.

In the book Creativity Inc, By Ed Catmull at one point he talked about the importance of protecting the new. He then quoted the amazing monologue delivered by Anton Ego in Ratatouille.

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to
our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and
to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the
grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more
meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times
when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and
defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new
creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something
new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say
that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about
fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.
In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s
famous motto: ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly
understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a
great artist can come from anywhere. – Anton Ego

I have always been an innovative person who learns through iteration, trial and error. I find however as I grow older that I more easily stick to what I know because I know it works. The beauty of age is experience. The danger of age is becoming critical of the new. I meet many people who talk more about what they have done than what they are doing. 

Being a critic is much less costly than being an artist. Left to ourselves we slip into the criticism of the new rather than become a friend of the new.

Why Frozen was so captivating.

I watched Frozen with my kids over the Christmas break. It was hands down the best Disney Movie they have produced in decades. Why? Because the story was compelling. One of the most frustrating things that Hollywood does is make movies where they throw a bunch of animated animals on the screen saying a few random jokes and expect us to clamor. Why was Frozen so compelling? It wasn’t just a bunch of animators saying look what we can do. It was a compelling story that was supported by great animation.